Report dumping and illegal occupation

Patricia Van der Ross, mayoral committee member for community services and health

Regarding “’Plain parks and ‘wreckreation’” (Plainsman, May 3).

The City of Cape Town’s recreation and parks department reported the matter to the City’s law enforcement department. Shortly after, the individuals were removed from the park by the City’s Recreation and Parks Department with the assistance of City’s Law Enforcement Department.

To date, the park is unoccupied and regular inspections are conducted by the department to ensure the park stays clear and is used for its intended purpose.

The recreations and parks department’s team was on site on Thursday, May 6 April to clean the area.

The park is maintained every two weeks for general cleaning, including dumping, litter picking, raking and sweeping, as per the departmental schedule.

Should there be an accumulation of dirt between cleaning cycles, residents are advised to report it, but also to keep their children under supervision and away from any potential health risks.

If the people do not leave the area as advised by law enforcement, the department will initiate an eviction process.

The department in collaboration with the ward councillor and other City internal departments will coordinate a dumping awareness drive event.

The department is in the process of signing an agreement with a group of community members and hope that the dumping awareness drive event with the internal departments will influence a change in behaviour and have a positive impact on the children.

Cape Town, like many other cities, has faced a proliferation of tented camps during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As such, it’s important to note that the City’s By-laws do not circumvent the need for a court order where a structure is considered a dwelling under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unauthorised Occupation of Land (PIE) Act.

In those instances the City has to acquire the necessary court order, and ensure alternative accommodation at shelters or safe spaces has been offered, where this is just and equitable.

Community involvement has been shown as one of the topmost contributors to protecting facilities from vandalism, as behaviour changes when they are perceived to be valuable community assets.

We appeal to residents to report incidents of general vandalism, dumping, illegal occupation, noise nuisances or any other by-law transgressions as soon as possible, so that corrective action can be taken.

This can be reported to the South African Police Service or the City’s public emergency communication centre on 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.